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One trailer was all it took for Perchang to earn a spot on my most anticipated games list. I know a great trailer doesn’t always equal a great game, but everything about Perchang — from the graphics to the gameplay to the music — just seems right up my alley. So, eager to find out more, I got in touch with the newly formed indie studio (also called Perchang) behind it to ask a few questions. Here’s the interview…

I know you guys currently have a game in the final stages of development, so thanks for taking the time out of your undoubtedly hectic schedule for this chat. Let’s get the ball rolling with some introductions. Who are Perchang, where are you based, and what are you all about?

Ben: Well thanks for having us! I’m Ben Murch, probably best known for being a co-founder and the Creative Director of Rodeo Games, which went on to produce Hunters, Warhammer Quest and Deathwatch.

Pete: And I’m Pete Akehurst, founder of Popcorn Entertainment, which released Storm Rush last year, amongst other things.

Ben: We both originally come from the AAA scene, so it’s probably no surprise that we’re based in Guildford. Perchang is all about creating awesome mobile experiences! No particular genre or style, just ideas and concepts that really interest us.

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Pete Akehurst and Ben Murch

It’s the name of both your studio and debut game, so I can’t help but ask: What exactly does the word “Perchang” mean? (Googling it didn’t turn up much.) 

Pete: That’s part of the reason we chose it in the end… it’s unique. Hopefully no one will have trouble finding information on our company/game if they’re googling Perchang! Nothing else is likely to come up 🙂 I guess you could call it a Ben-ism. It evolved on nights out a few years ago and could probably best translated as ‘wow that’s pretty awesome!’

Ben: Haha, yeah, that was actually when we were a lot younger and working at Codemasters together. We also wanted to get away from using something something Games or Entertainment…. all that seriousness doesn’t seem to reflect what we do at Perchang.

For anyone who hasn’t heard of it yet, can you give a quick ‘elevator-style’ pitch of Perchang and its gameplay? 

Pete: Lemmings crossed with Marble Madness. In each level your job is to guide the balls from their starting point to a goal. You have any number of devices and gadgets to help you do this inside the time limit.

Ben: Along with that, all the gadgets are coloured red or blue. You press the red and blue buttons to activate all the correspondingly coloured gadgets. The kicker is that you can change the swap the colours of the gadgets. So there’s this puzzle solving element too.

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How long has Perchang been in the works and when can we expect to see it hit iOS and other platforms? Also is it going to be a premium or free-to-play title?

Ben: We’re going for a premium price point. No adverts, no IAPs. Just pay once and play. It’ll be hitting the App Store around late May/early June.

Pete: And, we’ve not actually been working on the game for too long. Just since Christmas in fact. We pretty much started with just an art style and went from there. In fact the original game idea was quite different to what you see now — pretty much everything about it has changed, apart from the art style.

Ben: Yes, Pete had this idea about getting a ball through a level. At that point, it had more in common with an endless runner though. The cool component was this idea of these contraptions and gizmos that littered the levels. Almost like a Rube Goldberg Machine! Then we slowly chipped and changed the idea over a couple of weeks chatting in various Guildford pubs!

Pete: Once we settled on what we were making things moved really quick; the ideas really flowed. Making Perchang has been a really enjoyable game to make!

The music in the trailer meshes really well with the gameplay and visuals on display. What is it and will it be featured in-game?

Ben: Everyone. Seriously, EVERYONE, loves the music. That actually came quite late in the process. We originally had this Electro-Swing backing, which was cool but absolutely did not fit the rest of the game. I’m a big fan of how the Maxis games feel. There’s this warmth and honesty to The Sims which we really wanted to replicate. A lot of that feeling is stored in the sound design. Lots of soft pianos and plinky plunky strings. So, the soundtrack is a lot of string plucking that feels homely and warm whilst maintaining the inquisitive nature of the game.

Given your past experience at Rodeo Games/Popcorn Entertainment and now at Perchang, what advice can you offer to anyone who may be looking to get into iOS development as an indie?

Pete: Don’t do it for the money! I’ve made four games as an indie now. One of them, Storm Rush, was featured. But overall it hasn’t exactly been a money spinner. I definitely would have been better off financially if I’d carried on making AAA games.

Being an indie is cool because you get to make your own decisions and because you get the chance to make the games that you love.

So that’s my advice I guess: make something that you really want to make and that you’ll be proud of… because you probably won’t make a ton of money from it!

Ben: Yes, it really shouldn’t be about the money! For me, it’s very similar advice. Find a subject or game idea that you’re really passionate about and make it. Figure out as much as you can before you start production (although, plans will always shift a little), learn as much as possible about everything, and make something YOU love. Hopefully, other people will have similar interests to you and be interested in what you’ve made. Oh, and don’t delay. Lots of people procrastinate too much and never actually get started. Dive in, be passionate and make something you want to play!

Any plans or ideas for future games under the Perchang banner, or are you not thinking that far ahead yet?

Ben: We have four games that are in idea format right now. They all have wildly different subject matters and budgets, and I would absolutely love to make any one of them. Or we’ve talked about doing more Perchang (the game). We still have loads of level and mechanic ideas to explore. We shall have to see!!

Thanks for such an interesting and informative interview, guys. If I ever find myself in a Guildford pub, the first drink’s on me! 

As mentioned above, Perchang are aiming for a release window of late May/early June for Perchang. In the meantime, you can follow them on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest news.